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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

African Military Leaders, Foreign Policy Experts Question Trump Administration's Approach To Humanitarian Aid, Defense Spending On Continent

New York Times: White House Pushes Military Might Over Humanitarian Aid in Africa
“…If Congress passes Mr. Trump’s proposed … budget for the 2018 fiscal year … the United States will spend more money on military affairs in Africa but reduce humanitarian and development assistance across the continent. … Even some of the money still in the Trump proposal would shift to security areas from humanitarian and development, foreign policy experts say. … The Trump administration has proposed slashing programs that buy antiretroviral drugs for people who are infected with HIV … Researchers say the cuts could lead to the deaths of at least one million people in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Over all, Mr. Trump’s budget submission would reduce State Department funding by roughly a third…” (Cooper, 6/25).

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HHS Secretary Price Says Allowing Ebola-Infected Health Workers Back Into Country 'A Moral Action'

The Atlantic: HHS Secretary Defies Trump on Ebola Travel Ban
“At the height of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, days before the World Health Organization declared it an international public health emergency, Donald Trump tweeted: ‘The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences!’ … On Sunday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg read Trump’s Ebola tweet to Tom Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services. In the case of another Ebola outbreak, Goldberg asked, would Price recommend to the president that the U.S. allow infected health workers back into the country? Price definitively diverged from Trump on this. ‘It’s not only our responsibility,’ to let them back, he said, ‘it’s a moral action that must be taken’…” (Beck, 6/25).

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U.N. Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution On Right To Health; U.S. Voices Opposition To Several Facets Of Document

Intellectual Property Watch: U.N. Human Rights Council Adopts Access To Medicines Resolution
“The United Nations Human Rights Council [Friday] adopted a resolution on the right to health in relation to the U.N. 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including a call for medicines and vaccines access for all. The resolution also requested the U.N. human rights commissioner to report on the right to health. … The United States accepted the overall resolution but issued statements (here and here) opposing the request for a UNHCR report on grounds that it does not fall within UNHCR’s mandate and disagreeing with framing the SDGs in a ‘right to health framework.’ It also opposed what it viewed as a threat to intellectual property rights…” (New, 6/23).

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NIAID Director Anthony Fauci Speaks With Devex About Working With Different U.S. Presidential Administrations, Disease Outbreak Preparedness

The Atlantic: The Truth Teller
“…[Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,] seemed surprised at the suggestion that he might do something other than what he’s been doing since he began leading the institute in 1984 — trying to protect people from diseases like Ebola, Zika, and HIV. This is despite the fact that some of Trump’s policy proposals seem to directly contradict his efforts. … I asked Fauci if he was daunted by all these developments, and if not, how he planned to do his work in spite of them. An edited version of our conversation, which took place at the Aspen Ideas Festival, follows…” (Khazan, 6/26).

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U.N. Officials Call Yemen Cholera Outbreak Worst In World As Number Of Cases Tops 200K; Saudi Crown Prince Donates $66.7M Toward Relief Efforts

Associated Press: U.N.: More than 200,000 suspected cholera cases in Yemen
“The U.N. health agency says there are now more than 200,000 suspected cases of cholera in an outbreak in war-torn Yemen, many of them children. UNICEF Director Anthony Lake and World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan said in a statement Saturday, ‘We are now facing the worst cholera outbreak in the world,’ with an average of 5,000 new cases every day…” (6/25).

New York Times: Saudis, at War in Yemen, Give Country $66.7 Million in Cholera Relief
“The newly elevated crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who as defense minister has led the country’s bombing and blockades of Yemen, showed his charitable side on Friday with a $66.7 million donation to fight the cholera outbreak in that country…” (Gladstone, 6/23).

NPR: Yemen Now Faces ‘The Worst Cholera Outbreak In The World,’ U.N. Says
“…Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, and Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, say that ‘more than 1,300 people have died — one quarter of them children — and the death toll is expected to rise’…” (Dwyer, 6/24).

Reuters: Saudi crown prince donates $66 million to fight Yemen cholera epidemic
“…The donation by [Saudi Arabia’s] Prince Mohammed bin Salman went to the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization (WHO), as requested by the organizations, a statement by the Saudi ministry of culture and information said. It would help them ‘respond effectively to the cholera situation in Yemen, through a combination of water, sanitation, and health care activities,’ it said…” (El Gamal, 6/23).

U.N. News Centre: Yemen hit by world’s worst cholera outbreak as cases reach 200,000 — U.N.
“…An estimated 30,000 dedicated local health workers who play the largest role in ending this outbreak have not been paid their salaries for nearly 10 months. ‘We urge all authorities inside the country to pay these salaries and, above all, we call on all parties to end this devastating conflict,’ [Lake and Chan] said” (6/24).

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Devex Profiles Former Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul, Discusses Continuing Efforts To Address Major Infectious Diseases

Devex: The gospel according to Mark Dybul, the man working to end three plagues
“…After four years as the Global Fund’s executive director — during which time he helmed two multi-billion dollar fundraising efforts and helped restore the embattled Swiss organization’s reputation as a global health leader — Dybul stepped down last month at the end of his first term. He is returning to Washington, D.C., and to life as a faculty member of the Georgetown University Medical Center, his alma mater. ‘Innovation changes everything, and change doesn’t happen when people stick around for too long,’ he told me…” (Igoe, 6/25).

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BIO Ventures For Global Health, Pharma Companies Launch Africa Access Initiative To Improve Cancer Care, Research On Continent

Devex: Q&A: How the African Access Initiative plans to mitigate Africa’s cancer burden
“…BIO Ventures for Global Health joined with pharmaceutical companies [last] week to launch the African Access Initiative — a cancer-focused program that brings together oncology companies with African governments and hospitals to enhance health care capacity, foster cancer research, and increase the availability of life-saving cancer medicines. … [BVGH President Jennifer] Dent spoke with Devex about this group’s plans to couple the latest oncology technologies with business models that produce reasonable treatment options to reduce the number of cancer deaths in Africa…” (Roby, 6/23).

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Continued Violence Threatens Health Care System Development In Central African Republic

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Central African Republic health plan threatened by violence: WHO
“As displaced people return to their homes in the capital of war-torn Central African Republic, they will need medical services but renewed violence threatens an already wounded health care system, the World Health Organization’s Africa director said. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti visited Bangui this week for the launch of the country’s latest health development plan, as renewed fighting swept the country…” (Lazareva, 6/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

HHS Secretary Price Should Look To Example Of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus' Leadership To Address, Improve Health Care Access

The Hill: Developing nations are taking the lead on health care access — U.S. could learn from them
Krista Scott of Child Care Aware of America; Uzma Alam, global health practitioner; and Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, health care policy expert, and all participants in the Allies for Reaching Community Health Equity Public Voices Fellowship of The OpEd Project

“…[W]hile U.S. leaders are bent on pushing legislation to reduce access to health care, the rest of the world is focused on increasing people’s ability to get the care they need, including in developing countries. … [Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, new director general of the WHO, and Tom Price, U.S. secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services,] cannot be more different. … Ghebreyesus’ leadership has led to a clear positive trajectory for health outcomes in Ethiopia. … Under Dr. Ghebreyesus’ leadership from 2005-2012, the country’s health infrastructure was expanded… Here in the United States, however, Secretary Price appears to be the polar opposite, dedicated to advancing policies that would reduce access to health care, undermine women’s health, and allow religious beliefs to override science and public health. … Secretary Price would do well to look to Dr. Ghebreyesus’ leadership in addressing pressing health disparities with limited means. We need our health leader to harness the United States’ tremendous resources to improve health outcomes for everyone in our nation. We must pursue global health security through sustained investments in global health and by backing research-based, proven solutions — domestically and internationally” (6/24).

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Scientific Community Must Remain Confident, Credible, Aware Of Consequences In 'Post-Fact' Era

The Guardian: In a world ruled by rumor, it is vital that scientists speak with humility and clarity
Sue Desmond-Hellman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…Science — and specifically the scientific method — is at risk in an era of fake news, anti-expert feeling, and science denialism. … We need to argue against this in a post-fact, post-truth era. Scientists must participate effectively in the public dialogue around facts and truth. And there are three aspects of the debate that I believe are crucial for the scientific community to address so that we remain relevant: consequences, confidence, and credibility. … It is imperative we get out of our bubble. Scientists who are engaged and participating in community and family life as a part of civil society will be more aware of consequences, more confident, and more credible. For the world to continue to experience progress, we must value the scientific method as the ultimate way to improve the human condition. As scientists, we owe it to ourselves to fight for the truth. More important, we owe it to people … who are counting on us” (6/23).

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Famine Relief Efforts 'Falling Tragically Short' Due Largely To Lack Of Awareness

Washington Post: No one is paying attention to the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II
Jackson Diehl, deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post

“…[I]t’s shocking that so little heed is being paid to what the United Nations says is the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945: the danger that about 20 million people in four countries will suffer famine in the coming months, and that hundreds of thousands of children will starve to death. … According to U.N. and private relief officials, efforts to supply enough food to stem the simultaneous crises in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Nigeria are falling tragically short so far, in part because of inadequate funding from governments and private donors. … That resource gap could be attributed to donor fatigue, or to the sheer size of the need. But, in part, it’s a simple lack of awareness. … Famines used to attract broad interest in the West. Rock stars led relief campaigns, and television networks produced special documentaries. U.S. nongovernmental organizations are looking for ways to similarly galvanize the country this summer. Millions of lives may depend on whether they can find a way to command attention in the age of Trump” (6/25).

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Polio Eradication Possible With Sustained Immunization, Surveillance Efforts

Washington Post: We’re closer than ever to eradicating polio — and yet there’s Syria
Editorial Board

“…The numbers [of polio cases] are so low today that eradication may indeed be within reach, if there is not another setback in the remaining endemic countries. For this, immunization and surveillance must be sustained. … The one dark spot is Syria, where a fresh outbreak has paralyzed 17 children … This is the second polio outbreak of the war. It was caused by a weakened form of the virus from the polio vaccine itself, which in rare cases mutates and becomes virulent against the unvaccinated, spreading through contaminated sewage or water. The real culprit is the upheaval of war. Fortunately, there is an effective vaccine and a fair amount of experience in extinguishing such an outbreak, and with enough effort and immunization, it can be contained. The moonshot may yet succeed” (6/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Discusses 5 Takeaways From Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson, USAID Administrator-Nominee Mark Green Hearings

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Where Is Trump Headed on Foreign Aid? Five Takeaways from the Tillerson and Green Hearings
Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at CGD, and Jared Kalow, research assistant at CGD, discuss five takeaways from several hearings that took place last week involving U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and USAID administrator nominee Mark Green. Takeaways include: “1. An administration at odds with itself… 2. …and with Congress … 3. Cuts to humanitarian assistance are a front and center concern … 4. The Hill wants a say in the State Department-USAID reorganization efforts … 5. A real opportunity for foreign aid reform?” (6/23).

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FT Health Discusses Impact Of Conflict On Disease Spread, Features Interview With Outgoing WHO Director General

FT Health: War and the spread of disease
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses the impact of conflict on the spread of diseases and features excerpts from an interview with outgoing WHO Director-General Margaret Chan about her legacy. In addition, the newsletter provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 6/23).

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